The Ugly Truth About School Lunches

This year, I decided to make all my kids’ lunches for school. After being appalled by the choices offered to Seth last year, I decided it was better to give my kids a homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich than to spend money on the endless junk food offered by the school.

In all fairness, the menus at Seth and Lael’s school are fairly conventional: pizza and burgers with vegetables or fruit. But I worried that the ingredients within those foods contained high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, low-quality cheese and low-quality meat.

Still, you probably wonder every day if it’s worth rushing around each morning to make lunch for the kids. Or perhaps you wonder if it’s worth making the leap.

Well, wonder no longer: Ed Bruske, who writes for Grist, spent a week at his daughter’s Washington, D.C., school discovering how lunches are prepared. The meals at this school are called “fresh cooked.” In other words, the food is made somewhere else and then warmed up at the school.

So far, only four installments have been posted, but they are a very compelling read:

6 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth About School Lunches

  1. Grace

    I just read through the 4 articles and it definitely was enlightening. But I’m not surprised. It’s funny how “people” want to change things but don’t understand all the complexity needed to fulfill a change. Saying that they want lunches made at the school sites is one thing. Re-equipping the kitchens is another thing. BUT actually training the employees on WHAT that means is the most essential bit — that they happened to leave out in this whole change.

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  2. AJ

    Our elementary school is reshaping its cafeteria program, with the lead parent initiators looking to a school just north of us as an example…
    Students there have locally made main courses that include such items as Thai spring rolls, soup, fajitas, orzo with grilled vegetables, baked ziti, and teriyaki chicken. Organic salad is available every day — they have a school vegetable garden. Check ’em out:
    http://sites.google.com/site/trinidadfood/
    I’m coming to view school districts as a fine example of followers leading so the leaders will follow. On a national level it’s difficult because corporate interests have billions of dollars stacked against you. At the school level it can just take a small group of enthused parents to make change happen.
    Our parent group had met only once in the fall before the superintendent took notice and formed an official committee. By January, we began to see menu improvements and hearing long-term plans. Best of all, I’m told that organic salad school I linked actually turns a profit on its menu. I suspect our administrators recognize an innovative menu as one more way to distinguish a school and assist enrollment. In California, our main public schools are being bled dry by charter schools, so it takes something quite unusual to make parents consider a public school.

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